Max is part of the DETAIL Lab at the University of Florida. His research interests include 1) applying instructional design processes to address important areas of need in education; 2) evaluating technology-enhanced teaching approaches in the online and blended learning environments; and 3) assessment development and validation for complex outcomes. Max’s recent work has seen these research interests applied in the areas of information and online literacy, credibility assessment in the online environment, metacognition, and instructional design of online and blended learning.

Max pursues diverse research experiences and participates in interdisciplinary collaborations to address relevant, real-world problems. See a synopsis of some of Max’s research experiences, followed by his publications, below.

Credibility Assessment in the Online Environment

Max’s dissertation research includes three related projects: a systematic review of literature on the intersection of metacognition and credibility assessment; the design and development of a credibility assessment online module emphasizing metacognitive strategies and expert demonstration of practical skills for undergraduate learners; and a convergent mixed-methods, mixed-factorial experimental design to examine the influence of metacognitive prompting and types of information tasks (high-stakes vs. low stakes) on credibility assessment ability and behaviors

Information and Online Literacy

Max has conducted research on several projects related to information and online literacy. These include an experimental study on the design, development, and evaluation of technological and pedagogical affordances of an information literacy e-book tool; an investigation of validity evidence of a prominent information literacy self-efficacy scale using a confirmatory factor analysis; and the building, teaching, and evaluation of an online and information literacy curriculum for underserved groups (e.g., first-generation college students and underrepresented minorities) in a community college summer bridge program.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

In multi-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research, Max worked as an instructional designer and collaborated with biostatisticians to transform a face-to-face workshop on power and sample size analysis for health scientists into a MOOC on the Coursera platform. Power and sample size analysis is critical to reduce unnecessary participant risk in health research, and this transformation of the instruction increased access to thousands of diverse learners around the globe. Max’s research related to this MOOC continues today as he is applying learning analytic techniques to evaluate the efficacy of this MOOC on its diverse learner population.


Max collaborated with colleagues to systematically review literature, apply inclusion/exclusion criteria to find relevant experimental and quasi-experimental studies, and calculate effect sizes to determine estimates of overall impact of innovative technology-enhanced practices on cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes in formal educational settings. These innovative practices that were explored include the application of gamification and adaptive learning approaches in education.

Online Statistics Education

Max has conducted research related to the design and delivery of online statistics education in various contexts. These projects include collaborations with biostatisticians to transform a power and sample size face-to-face workshop into a Massive Open Online Course; collaborations with educational technology faculty to design and develop asynchronous online statistics courses for educational technology Ed.D. students covering the topics of research design and quantitative methods; and collaborations with interdisciplinary faculty and researchers to investigate how the design of learning analytics dashboards influence motivation and statistics anxiety in an online statistics course.

K-12 Students’ Conceptions of Learning with Technology

Max collaborated with colleagues to explore student’s conceptions of learning with technology through an innovative draw-a-picture method. The research team applied a cross-sectional analysis of participants from kindergarten to 12th grade, gaining insights on perspectives about learning with technology from a broad age range of K-12 students that would not be possible via more traditional data collection methods like surveys or interviews.

Flipped Classroom

Is the flipped classroom approach an effective strategy for teaching technology application skills? Through a quasi-experimental pre-test post-test design, Max investigated the impact of the flipped classroom approach on learner achievement and satisfaction in an introductory technology literacy course.


Sommer, M., Kohnen, A. M., Hampton, J., & Ritzhaupt, A. D. (in press). Instructional elements in an online information literacy Open Educational Resource (OER) and their influence on learner achievement, satisfaction, and self-efficacy. Journal of Information Literacy.

Ritzhaupt, A. D., Huang, R., Sommer, M., Zhu, J. W., Stephen, A., Valle, N.,Hampton, J., & Li, J. W. (2021). A meta-analysis on the influence of gamification in formal educational settings on affective and behavioral outcomes. Educational Technology Research and Development,

Valle, N., Antonenko, P., Valle, D., Sommer, M., Huggins-Manley, C. A., Dawson, K., Kim, D., Baiser, B. (2021). Predict or describe? How learning analytics dashboard design influences motivation and statistics anxiety in an online statistics course. Educational Technology Research and Development, 69, 1405–1431.

Sommer, M., Kohnen, A. M., Ritzhaupt, A.D., & Hampton, J. (2021). Investigation of the validity evidence of the Information Literacy Self-Efficacy Scale (ILSES) among undergraduate students. Communications in Information Literacy, 15(1), 1-23.

Ritzhaupt, A. D., Valle, N., & Sommer, M. (2020). Design, development, and evaluation of an online statistics course for educational technology doctoral students: A design and development case. Journal of Formative Design in Learning.

Huang, R., Ritzhaupt, A. D., Sommer, M., Zhu, J. W., Stephen, A., Valle, N., Hampton, J.,& Li, J. W. (2020). The impact of gamification in educational settings on student learning outcomes: A meta-analysis. Educational Technology Research and Development, 68, 1875– 1901.

Sommer, M., Ritzhaupt, A. D., Muller, K. E., & Glueck, D. H. (2019). Transformation of a face-to-face workshop into a massive open online course (MOOC): A design and development case. Journal of Formative Design in Learning, 3, 97-110.

Sommer, M. & Ritzhaupt, A. (2018). Impact of flipped classroom on learner achievement and satisfaction in an undergraduate technology literacy course. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 17, 159-182.